Monday, October 26, 2009

Activisim task of the day: send a letter of support to a young military objector in Israel

On Native People's Day (aka Columbus day), I got to see Buffy Stainte-Marie on Democracy Now (full hour show). Not only did she breast feed her baby on Sesame Street, she wrote "Universal Soldier". The following campaign really speaks to that idea of the Universal Soldier standing up and refusing to fight.

(forwarded mail follows)


Dear Friends,

A new collective declaration of refusal by Israeli youths, the 2009-2010 high school seniors letter, went public last week. Today (22 Oct.), two of its signatories, Efi Brenner and Or Ben-David, came to the military induction base in Tel-Hashomer and there refused to enlist. Efi was indeed sent to prison, while Or has not yet been sentenced (she was told that the military prison for women was full), and will have to return to the induction base tomorrow, probably spend the weekend there and be sent to prison on Sunday. We will run a separate update on her case once she is in prison.

Efi Brenner, 18, from Rishon Le Zion (a suburb of Tel-Aviv), is a familiar figure among young anti-Occupation and animal rights activists in Israel. He was sentenced today to his first prison term of ten days (more terms in prison are likely to follow), which he serves in Military Prison no. 6 near Atlit. Following the media exposure that the Seniors' Letter has received after it was made public, Efi was kicked out of home by his father, and spent the last days before imprisonment at a friend's house. In prison he has already been transferred to the isolation ward for refusing to obey the military dressing code. In addition, the prison authorities decided (against all known regulations) not to allow him to take books with him into prison.

Efi has prepared the following statement upon entering prison:

I object to oppression, whether it is commited by a hierarchical organisation, such as the military is, or whether it is commited by the human species against animals. The Israeli government and military conduct a policy of occupation and oppression against the Palestinian people since 1948. It began with the expusion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948, which continues to this day, and continued with the imposition of an oppressive military rule on Palestinians, with the restriction of the freedom of movement of all people, with roads for Israelis only, with administrative detentions, house demolitions, land thefts, etc. We must act in peaceful ways and refuse to take part in the crimes commited by the military. That is our true duty. All the things mentioned above stand agaist the basic values of freedom and justice in which I believe and for which I struggle. I therefore refuse to enlist to the Israeli military and indeed to any military force of any kind.

Efi Brenner is due to be released from prison on 30 October, but is likely to be imprisoned again soon afterwards. His address in prison is:

Efi Brenner
ID number 203258272
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-4-9540580

Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=shministim10@gmail.com, and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.


Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.

Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support


Please send the imprisoned objectors letters of support (preferably postcards or by fax) to the prison addresses above.

2. Letters to Authorities


It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors' behalf, preferably by fax, to:

Mr. Ehud Barak,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Hakirya,
Tel-Aviv 64743,
Israel.
E-mail: http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=sar@mod.gov.il or http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=pniot@mod.gov.il
Tel.: ++972-3-6975540 or ++972-3-6975423
Fax: ++972-3-6976711

Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:

Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-4-9540580

Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General (note updated fax number):

Avichai Mandelblit,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-3-569-45-26


It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:

Gadi Agmon,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Israel.
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52


For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

Here is a generic sample letter, which you can use in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners' behalf. Feel free to modify this letter or write your own:


Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that Efi Brenner (ID number 203258272), a conscientious objector to military service, has been imprisoned for his refusal to become part of the Israeli army, and is held in the isolation ward of Military Prison no. 6 in Atlit.

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as Efi Brenner is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals. The particularly harsh conditions of imprisonment (confinement in the isolation ward, denial of access to books) in which Efi Brenner is held are evidence of an attempt to use the Israeli military legal system to try to force him to change or betray his convictions. This amounts to political persecution.

I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Efi Brenner, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all persons, in the future.

Sincerely,

3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries


Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention.

Here are some contact details for the main media outlets in Israel:

Ma'ariv:
2 Karlibach st.
Tel-Aviv 67132
Israel
Fax: +972-3-561-06-14
e-mail: http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=editor@maariv.co.il

Yedioth Aharonoth:
2 Moses st.
Tel-Aviv
Israel
Fax: +972-3-608-25-46

Ha'aretz (Hebrew):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-681-00-12

Ha'aretz (English edition):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-512-11-56
e-mail: http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=letters@haaretz.co.il

Israel Hayom:
2 Hashlosha st.
The B1 Building
Tel-Aviv
Israel
e-mail: http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=hayom@israelhayom.co.il

Jerusalem Post:
P.O. Box 81
Jerusalem 91000
Israel
Fax: +972-2-538-95-27
e-mail: http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=news@jpost.co.il or http://us.mc505.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=letters@jpost.co.il

Radio (fax numbers):
Kol-Israel +972-2-531-33-15 +972-2-531-33-15

and +972-3-694-47-09 +972-3-694-47-09

Galei Zahal +972-3-512-67-20 +972-3-512-67-20

Television (fax numbers):
Channel 1 +972-2-530-15-36 +972-2-530-15-36
Channel 2 +972-2-533-98-09 +972-2-533-98-09
Channel 10 +972-3-733-16-66 +972-3-733-16-66



We will continue updating on further developments.

Thank you for your attention and action,


Sergeiy Sandler – New Profile.


Friday, October 02, 2009

My mail to Moma

Let's see how they respond:

On Wednesday afternoon at 2:00, I visited Moma with my 7 –week old baby. As soon as we arrived up to the 6th floor to see the Ron Arad: NO DISCIPLINE exhibit, my son stirred in his carrier, indicating that he was hungry. I chose a spot at the end of the long couches outside the exhibit, near the audio guide counter, and began to nurse him. Within a few moments, I was asked by a guard to move to a less comfortable bench down the hall. Stunned, I asked him why. He made it clear that he was “not telling” me that I “could not nurse my baby” but that I was “making people uncomfortable” and would prefer if I would do it “over there”.
Uncomfortable? Were people uncomfortable viewing the 1947 surrealist work depicting a breast on top of a book, not to mention countless other representations of the human form on display at the museum?
Perhaps the guard was unfamiliar with New York law, specifically:
Civil Rights Law Article 7 CVR Article 7 § 79-e. Right to breast feed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

Clearly, that law gives me the right to nurse in the area outside an exhibit of the museum. I suspect that I was the only one made “uncomfortable” by the guard’s insensitive harassment. I would appreciate clarification and an apology.
Yours truly,
Moma member